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Energies 2012, 5(8), 2708-2723; doi:10.3390/en5082708

A Hybrid Life-Cycle Assessment of Nonrenewable Energy and Greenhouse-Gas Emissions of a Village-Level Biomass Gasification Project in China

1
State Key Joint Laboratory of Environmental Simulation and Pollution Control, School of Environment, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China
2
Policy Research Center for Environment and Economy, Ministry of Environment Protection, Beijing 100875, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 15 June 2012 / Revised: 16 July 2012 / Accepted: 18 July 2012 / Published: 26 July 2012
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Exergy Analysis of Energy Systems)
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Abstract

Small-scale bio-energy projects have been launched in rural areas of China and are considered as alternatives to fossil-fuel energy. However, energetic and environmental evaluation of these projects has rarely been carried out, though it is necessary for their long-term development. A village-level biomass gasification project provides an example. A hybrid life-cycle assessment (LCA) of its total nonrenewable energy (NE) cost and associated greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions is presented in this paper. The results show that the total energy cost for one joule of biomass gas output from the project is 2.93 J, of which 0.89 J is from nonrenewable energy, and the related GHG emission cost is 1.17 × 10−4 g CO2-eq over its designed life cycle of 20 years. To provide equivalent effective calorific value for cooking work, the utilization of one joule of biomass gas will lead to more life cycle NE cost by 0.07 J and more GHG emissions by 8.92 × 10−5 g CO2-eq compared to natural gas taking into consideration of the difference in combustion efficiency and calorific value. The small-scale bio-energy project has fallen into dilemma, i.e., struggling for survival, and for a more successful future development of village-level gasification projects, much effort is needed to tide over the plight of its development, such as high cost and low efficiency caused by decentralized construction, technical shortcomings and low utilization rate of by-products.
Keywords: hybrid LCA; biomass gasification; fossil energy cost; greenhouse gas emission; rural China hybrid LCA; biomass gasification; fossil energy cost; greenhouse gas emission; rural China
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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Wang, C.; Zhang, L.; Yang, S.; Pang, M. A Hybrid Life-Cycle Assessment of Nonrenewable Energy and Greenhouse-Gas Emissions of a Village-Level Biomass Gasification Project in China. Energies 2012, 5, 2708-2723.

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